Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations show that dislocation channel deformation occurs in pre-irradiated austenitic stainless steels, even at low stress levels (∼175 MPa, 290 °C) in low neutron dose (∼0.16 dpa, 185 °C) material. The TEM observations are utilized to design finite element (FE) meshes that include one or two “soft” channels (i.e. low critical resolved shear stress (CRSS)) of particular aspect ratio (length divided by thickness) embedded at the free surface of a “hard” matrix (i.e. high CRSS). The CRSS are adjusted using experimental data and physically based models from the literature. For doses leading to hardening saturation, the computed surface slips are as high as 100% for an applied stress close to the yield stress, when the observed channel aspect ratio is used. Surface slips are much higher than the grain boundary slips because of matrix constraint effect. The matrix CRSS and the channel aspect ratio are the most influential model parameters. Predictions based on an analytical formula are compared with surface slips computed by the FE method. Predicted slips, either in surface or bulk channels, agree reasonably well with either atomic force microscopy measures reported in the literature or measures based on our TEM observations. Finally, it is shown that the induced surface slip and grain boundary stress concentrations strongly enhance the kinetics of the damage mechanisms possibly involved in IASCC.
Sauzay, M., Bavard, K., & Karlsen, W. (2010). TEM observations and finite element modelling of channel deformation in pre-irradiated austenitic stainless steels: Interactions with free surfaces and grain boundaries. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 406(1), 152-165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnucmat.2010.01.027